Summary: This sermon was preached at a deacon commissioning service
Last week we asked the question Why Deacons? In the midst of that sermon we not only answered the question Why? But also the questions of who are they? And what do they or should they do? At the close of the service our you were given a ballot of 5 awesome Christian men of whom you were to select two to serve as your table waiters, your deacons.
The two men that were selected were Jake Hunter and Richard West. Also in the message the role of their wives was emphasized as they work and serve alongside their husbands. The two wives of these men are Jean Hunter and Barbara West. At the close of this sermon these 4 individuals will be called forward for us as a congregation to pray with them and over them as they serve over the next three years.
But before we get to that point let us continue to look at the concept of a servant leader.
Turn with me in your bibles to Matthew chapter 20 beginning in verse 25.
These verses make up the end of a conversation with the mother of James and John. You see the mother of James and John came to visit. And as any good mother would desire She wanted the best for her boys. She looked at the other 10 disciples and quickly deduced My sons are better than them. They should be in a leadership position in this new kingdom Jesus is talking about. So this bold mama maybe with the prodding of her boys, approached Jesus with the request. This mama wanted her boys to sit on the right and left of the throne of the King. Basically saying let my boys be the top two among all men in your kingdom.
Jesus quietly said No. This was not his call to make. It was the Father’s. Now can you imagine what happened when the other 10 overheard the conversation. They were fit to be tied. Who do they think they are? But basically none the disciples understand that the Kingdom Jesus was talking about was a heavenly kingdom; so each of them in their own ways were jockeying for those top positions of authority, but when Jesus sensed the tension he called all of them and gave them again his definition of a leader.
Listen again to our passage.
But Jesus called them together and said, “ You know in this world kings are tyrants, and officials lord it over the people beneath them. BUT among you it should be quite different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant. And whoever wants to be first must become your slave. For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many.
So what does it mean to lead by serving. Well that is what we are going to briefly focus upon this morning.
A pastor once spoke about this tension between serving and leading. He said,” We all at times struggle with complacency. We have this strange tendency to be consumers and spectators. We walk around treating every situation like we’re food critics in a new restaurant. We expect everything and everyone to cater to us. We act as if breaking a sweat would be as painful as breaking our legs. He went on to say , “ it Reminds me of how someone described a college football game in the fourth quarter: “22 guys in need of a break, 70,000 people badly in need of exercise.”
To serve mean to act, to do, to risk, to put someone else and their life issues ahead of your own. And that my friends is hard.
So why do so many choose to be spectators and not players- To watch or ignore instead of to serve. Well it all boils down to selfishness or an inability to trust and risk. When asked to step out and participate, the response is sometimes:
1. I’m not good enough.
2. I don’t know enough about God.
3. I don’t know what to do. 4. I don’t have enough time.
5. What difference could I make?
All of these responses have at the center – ‘me’ – my fear, my doubt, my needs, my thoughts, my mind. And to some degree this is true, but we shouldn’t stop there. This is where our depending and trusting upon God begins. Christ invites you and I to join Him in ministry. Ministering to others isn’t about what I can do… Its about what Christ can do through me.
Being a minister is about God’s people using God’s gifts to display God’s grace.
If Christianity is going to make a real impact on your life – you have to get involved in ministry to others. No one ever checks out the win/loss record of the referee.